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Books Poetry

Romantic Auden

 

 

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Nothing touches the heart more than a beautiful love poem. And here is WH Auden at his finest. He wrote it in 1940 when he was 32 or 33 years old. The poet John Fuller in his selection of Auden’s poems gives no further information, no annotations. But it is so simple, so beautiful, no explanations are needed.

If I Could Tell You

By WH Auden

Time will say nothing; but I told you so
Time only knows the price we have to pay
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

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Books Poetry

A poem about a computer

I just came across this poem about a Mac (it had to be a Mac) but it could apply to a PC too. Anyone who blogs, surfs the Internet or is otherwise hopelessly addicted to computers will be able to identify with this poem. We can’t do without our computers. Trust a poet to articulate our feelings perfectly. The ending is beautiful.

The poet: Gary Snyder. (For more about the Pulitzer-winning American poet, see Wikipedia, Modern American Poetry and Blue Neon Alley

The poem: Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh

Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,   
Because it jumps like a skittish horse   
and sometimes throw me   
Because it is poky when cold   
Because plastic is a sad, strong material   
that is charming to rodents   
Because it is flighty   
Because my mind flies into it through my fingers   
Because it leaps forward and backward,   
is an endless sniffer and searcher,   
Because its keys click like hail on a boulder   
And it winks when it goes out,

Categories
Books Poetry

Sappho’s poem

Oddly enough, this surfaced in Yahoo! Odd News:

LONDON (Reuters) – A love poem written 2,600 years ago by Sappho, the greatest female poet of ancient Greece, was published on Friday for the first time since it was rediscovered last year.

Sappho’s verses expressing love for her female companions on the Greek island of Lesbos have either shocked or delighted generations of readers ever since they were first composed.

Her works once filled nine volumes and the ancients called her the "tenth muse", but little has survived to modern times.

The 12-line poem, only the fourth to have been recovered, was found on papyrus wrapped around an Egyptian mummy. It was published with an English translation in the Times Literary Supplement.

"She obviously had emotional relationships with women of her circle, quite possibly sexual," the poem’s translator, Oxford University academic Martin West, told Reuters.

"They seem to have had some sort of society in which they could be in each other’s company quite a lot, rather cut off from men," he said. "But the were clearly able to have plenty of fun."

The poem was rediscovered last year after researchers at Germany’s Cologne University identified a papyrus once wrapped round a mummy as part of a 3rd century BC roll containing poems by Sappho.

They noticed that some of the verse fragments on the crumbling Cologne material matched parts of lines already identified as Sappho’s on a papyrus discovered in 1922.

By combining the two they were able to reconstruct the original, adding likely missing words in the gaps that remained.

The Reuters report contained only the first four lines. So I toodled off to the Times Literary Supplement to read the full poem. It was part of an article by the translator, Martin West.

The poem

("The words in square brackets are supplied by conjecture", explained West.)

"[You for] the fragrant-blossomed Muses’ lovely gifts
[be zealous,] girls, [and the] clear melodious lyre:

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

my heart’s grown heavy, my knees will not support me,
that once on a time were fleet for the dance as fawns.

This state I oft bemoan; but what’s to do?
Not to grow old, being human, there’s no way.

Tithonus once, the tale was, rose-armed Dawn,
love-smitten, carried off to the world’s end,

handsome and young then, yet in time grey age
o’ertook him, husband of immortal wife."